Most of those charged with their first
DUI offense are aware of how serious a matter it is, but are also dismayed
to discover just extensive—and numerous—the minimum penalties
can be. Beyond the expected license suspension and fines, other measures
are enforced not only to be punitive, but to assess if there is a substance
abuse problem and to discourage the convicted from ever offending again.
Georgia's first offense
DUI penalties are found in the O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391(c)(1). These penalties are also
associated with what is known as a "first in ten" offense, the
"ten" meaning 10 years. In Georgia, the DUI look back period
is 10 years, meaning that, if you have not had another DUI charge in the
last 10 years, your latest charge will always count as your first (and
not a repeat offense).
Georgia's minimum first offense DUI penalties can include:
Fines: minimum of $300, maximum of $1,000
"DUI school": Completion of DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program
Medical review: a clinical drug and alcohol evaluation (judge may waive this)
Probation: 12 months, minus any time served in jail
License suspension: 12 months, but commonly terminated at 4 months
Jail: minimum of 24 hours if a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or more
was registered by the offender
Community service: minimum of 40 hours, 20 hours for offenders under 21 who registered a
BAC level less than .08
For first time offenders, it should be noted that it may be possible to
retain limited driving privileges. Under the right circumstances, a judge
can grant limited driving privileges for those convicted who still need
to commute to school and work. These limited privileges, however, need
to be petitioned for in court.
Get the Defense You Need
While maximum DUI penalties can be argued down and reduced, there is little
anyone can do about the minimum penalties listed above once a guilty verdict
is reached. That is why it is absolutely critical for all those facing
their first DUI charge to take this offense seriously and seek out aggressive
and knowledgeable legal counsel.
Thomas & Willis, LLC, we know how intimidated and frightening a first DUI offense can be and
have dedicated our efforts to providing proactive, thorough defense for
those charged. Our legal team has over 200 collective years of DUI experience
and have secured countless reductions and dismissals on behalf of our clients.
Get unparalleled experience and insight on your side today. Contact a proven
Atlanta DUI defense attorney by filling out our
free case evaluation form.